For weeks now, liberal media outlets have been hammering Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for prioritizing the elderly for vaccine doses, despite the obvious math that more than 80 percent of COVID deaths are people 65 and over. On Friday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt -- memorably casting Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year as some kind of wartime president of COVID -- put DeSantis on the hot seat again.
"There is outrage tonight over the steps some are taking to get themselves vaccinated," reported Holt, "and concerns that not everyone may have the same chance." Reporter Kerry Sanders started the scandal of two middle-aged women who posed as "grannies" to get a shot. Then he turned to controversy over a pop-up vaccination site:
KERRY SANDERS: Controversy surrounds by the vaccine pop-up ordered by the governor for just two zip codes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Somethin’s wrong with this whole system here.
SANDERS: When the governor was questioned this week why the eligible are overwhelmingly white and Republican, he fired back.
GOV. RON DeSANTIS: If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, then we are totally in fine putting this in counties that want it.
SANDERS: Those unable to even schedule a vaccine appointment, not happy.
DICK BAME: I guess it’s who you know that counts.
This is missing context. In this press event, DeSantis said the clinic in question received 3,000 extra doses to target an area with a lot of seniors and he noted that county residents outside the two zip codes still had the opportunity to get doses through the county’s weekly allotment of 6,000. But NBC left the impression that DeSantis would just take away all the county's vaccines in a fit of pique. The politics continued:
SANDERS: An NBC News examination of how Florida distributed the vaccine shows red counties in the state getting more shots per capita than blue counties. Florida’s emergency operations director aggressively disputes political favoritism, saying doses are based on a mathematical formula.
NIKKI FRIED, FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES (D): I do not think our governor should be dictating who lives and who dies. If you happen to have money, you get the golden ticket!
SANDERS: The fear tonight? A growing distrust that vaccine playing fields are not level.
The NBCNews.com article by Corky Siemaszko is even harsher in suggesting DeSantis is a grubby operator vaccinating Republicans first. It included criticism from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC boss, so you can tell it's a political hit. If anyone thinks DeSantis could be a Republican contender in 2024, an early indicator is hostile liberal media investigations.
CBS This Morning Saturday also carried this same anti-DeSantis line in a story by Jim Axelrod:
CBS highlighted the fact that vaccines in some counties are distributed by the big supermarket chain Publix, which donated $100,000 recently to a DeSantis re-election PAC.